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Shining light on virtual reality: Busting the 5 most inaccurate Oculus Rift myths

Brad Chacos | March 27, 2014
Everything you've heard about the Oculus Rift is wrong.

Everything you've heard about the Oculus Rift is wrong.

Well, not all of it. It definitely is a groundbreaking, affordable virtual reality headset, and Facebook did just drop a staggering $2 billion on Oculus. But beyond those basic facts swirl several inaccuracies that paint a skewed picture of the Rift.

Let's blow a few of those out of the water. Do believe the Oculus Rift hype, but don't believe all you hear about it before reading this.

1. Oculus Rift is only for games

Yes, the primary focus for the Oculus Rift has been games right from the beginning, and most of the early software that taps into the innovative hardware are of the "pleasurable distraction" variety, but the Rift holds potential for far greater uses. A large part of the reason Facebook spent that $2 billion is because Zuckerberg can see that future.

"Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures," he said in the after-purchase call to Facebook investors. "Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever."

That potential is already becoming reality. At SXSW this year, HBO used the Oculus Rift to give people virtual tours of Game of Thrones' Westeros (shown below). And long before Zuck opened his wallet, PCWorld took a peek at the non-gaming uses of Rift, which include healing the sick, sending students around the globe, and deeply connecting with others no matter where they are.

"In the first 30 days on Kickstarter, we started getting almost inundated with emails from people in [nongaming] markets," Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe told PCWorld last July. "A lot of them came from medical fields, the military, architecture, automobile design, even fitness. There were just so many people reaching out to us."

In other words: This is no mere toy.

2. Using Oculus Rift makes you barf

Virtual reality has a particularly nasty monkey on its back: Motion sickness. The brain trickery VR headsets engage in all too often lead to queasiness and feelings of regret.

That nausea has been greatly reduced with the Oculus Rift, however. Sure, some people still get sick using it, especially with the original low-res developer kit, but the Rift's superb low-latency head-tracking makes nausea far less common than in previous VR solutions. (Sitting down while using it can help.) In fact, more advanced versions of the Oculus Rift like the Crystal Cove and Dev Kit 2 prototypes sport higher-res, low-persistence OLED displays and even more potent internals, which greatly reduce the already-slim chance of upsetting your stomach.

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe claims the final consumer version won't cause rumblies in your tummy whatsoever when it's eventually released. Which brings us to the next myth...


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